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The Summer of Sustainable Development

Arun S. Nair





September is perhaps the best month to visit New York City. That’s when the Big Apple turns pleasant after its peak summer. If you are reasonably well off, you would mind less that the city has become costlier and consider attending the month’s numerous attractions including the US Open (tennis), Fashion Week, art fairs and festivals of film, dance and music.

September also changed NYC, like never before, 14 summers ago. The 9/11 attacks shocked not just the Americans but people across the world. It sparked debates—incidentally still relevant—on terrorism being a ‘war without borders’, religious fundamentalism, misuse of technological and financial market advancements, foreign policy flaws, globalization, politics of alienation and authoritarianism.

But this coming September will be a special month for the megalopolis as it is set to host the annual United Nations General Assembly meetings (September 25-27) where the UN member states are expected to “adopt a new (post-2015) sustainable development agenda”. The agenda will take forward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set in 2000, through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) meant to succeed them.

There were eight MDGs and 21 ‘anti-poverty targets to be achieved by 2015’. Through an ‘Open Working Group’, a process more inclusive than what helped in arriving at the MDGs, a report has already been prepared with a proposal for 17 SDGs and 169 targets. This is obviously much more ambitious than the eight MDGs and 21 targets.

The September event is billed by the UN as one of “the three milestones in 2015”—the other two being the Paris Climate Conference in December and the just concluded UN Third International Conference on Financing for Development (or FFD3) in Addis Ababa.

The article’s full-text is available on the website of Diplomatic Courier

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